Friday, July 30, 2010

A BlogPost Waiting to Happen - Food over Family

For some strange reason, kids get drawn to me very easily. They wave at me from the back seat of their parents cars, they stick out their sticky hands to grab my hair or glasses, and occasionally stare me down till I look away before I burst out laughing.

Last night, I had gone out after work to catch a movie with a friend from work, which was weird in itself as I don't really watch that many movies to begin with, and especially not on weeknights after a long day at work. But somehow it happened, and at 7:40 pm, a few minutes before we're scheduled to go into the cinema itself I find myself on a bench eating the driest, vilest doughnut I've ever had in my life. (I don't like doughnuts in the first place, but I was hungry)

So, we're talking to each other and suddenly this kid shows up, all smiles, trying his best to say something to me in baby talk and some mumbling which I obviously didn't understand. My friend, (who kids are supposedly afraid of) translates that the kid wants my doughnut and happily suggested that I entice the kid by tearing off a bit of the doughnut and wave it around so he comes nearer. Much to my horror, I found myself actually tearing off a quarter of the doughnut, and weakly wave it. The kid walks nearer, and actually makes a grab for it and takes it right off my fingers as I look in aghast waiting for an annoyed parent to come and yell at me for 'feeding' their child (and probably causing him to be awake all night because of the sugar!) My parents would have killed me if I had been two and taken food from a stranger although the stranger looks like she is a nice girl in safety boots. Don't ask.

My friend didn't help much either by saying again and again that you can't give food to a stranger's child! (I knew that, but you can't fight with a kid by taking back the doughnut he had taken from you right? What if he starts crying and screaming and I get accused of being a kidnapper or something?)

The kid skips off, elated at first. No parents came and yelled at me because they had actually disappeared and left the poor kid unattended and alone! How irresponsible. As the kid worriedly looks while wildly screaming for his parents in a language only he understands, he actually stops to take a bite of the doughnut he had in his hands. We burst out laughing. Seems like he loves the doughnut more than his parents!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quest for the Flying Phone Booth (A Limerick)

Note: This was an attempt to voice my feelings towards a particularly frustrating and tiresome part of something I had to do about a few weeks ago. Wrote it on a piece of rough paper while the sun was shining in brightly through the window as I stood near one of the machines in order to collect some data. Never got to finish it though...

There was once a girl who was *preppy
Her life was anything but crappy,
     But some folks came down
     An ugly blue they painted the town,
And she ceased being happy.


For two years they made her do stuff
Sadly she could never pull a *bluff,
     Though she tried her best
     She could only detest,
And occasionally wipe a tear on her cuff.


Sometimes things were smooth
Like the enamel of her tooth,
     And then comes a strange request
     That makes her go on a quest,
For a flying phone booth.


" Make your project look pretty
Stop trying to be 'oh so witty',
     Set targets use numbers
     Make graphs, grow cucumbers,
Or we'll tie you to a jetty"

 * For rhyming purposes only.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

100 movies in a poster

Note: Enticing procrastination tool ahead.

If I called myself a movie buff, the stone lodged somewhere in the tread of my left safety shoe would laugh so hard, it'll get dislodged immediately. However, despite the number of movies I've watched over the years average less than the average of almost anyone else, I couldn't help being drawn to the picture below.

Basically, what you've got to do is to guess the names of the movies creatively hidden in there (if you want to) and place your findings in the comments section (also if you want to)... I'll be away on a short holiday for the next few days, so guess away!  Oh yeah, click to enlarge the picture :)

Picture credits: Lovefilm, I guess...  



Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Wettest Town (Part 2)

Bukit Larut aka Maxwell Hill
It was somewhere back in the year 1884 where the British Assistant Resident of Perak by the name of William George Maxwell founded a hill station, presumably to escape the sweltering heat of the sea level areas. It was one of the oldest in the country and still stands today and kept safe from the evil clutches of commercialisation that plagues other hill resorts in Malaysia.

Today, the buildings of the old days still remain up on the hill, the old bungalows where the wood creaks as the temperature drops after sunset which were once used for rest and recreation. In fact, these bungalows are still where you would stay if you plan to put up a night or two on the hill. Of course, about more than a month before that we had called the people in charge, booked one of the bungalows, and paid for it by postal order (very, very archaic!)




We used the land rover services for our journey uphill and downhill to and from the bungalow as there was no other option (unless you wanted to hike up there, but we had two people who are almost 60 with us, and one rather heavy bag (as there is no food up there - and it would suck if you were left foodless in a cold place during a holiday!) Besides, travel sites indicated that the hike up could take up to 8 hours, and we thought that the land rover would be the better option until we had seen the situation for ourselves)

video

Racing through the narrow curves and bends which were steep at times, we reached the bungalow, shaken (not stirred, ha! ha!) and exhilarated. The sun was shining brightly then, and we were given the keys by the caretaker, and showed around the bungalow. It did look pretty gloomy, though (the walls were light blue), and rather quiet. I was once again disappointed because I thought that there would be other buildings within sight, but the only building we could see was one empty building by the name of Dahlia (picture below)


We did a small bit of hiking after that, in the hot afternoon sun, checking out the view with hopes of reaching the peak, but as much as we attempted climbing, the peak was still far away. In fact, after one and a half hours of walking along the paved road - or hiking, if you will, we had still quite a distance to and decided to turn back as it would be getting dark soon. Nevertheless, we managed to see some interesting views of the reserve forest, enjoy the quietness, and wonder in amazement at how the people from the 19th century had managed to build whatever they had built in such an inaccessible area (there's no record of how and when and who exactly built the buildings or lugged up the wood for the buildings, but I can expect it to have been a somewhat gruelling task and wouldn't be surprised if the history of it was somewhat shady and is best kept hidden)






(Pictures from the top: 1. A small waterfall slightly off the path, 2. A tall pine tree in the sun, 3. The view of the valley from the top of the hill (not the very top) You can actually see the mangrove forest in Port Weld aka Kuala Sepetang, and a bit of the sea, 4. An observation tower which is unfortunately in a state of disrepair :(, 5. Giant ferns) 

Now, our objective of this holiday was to escape city life, the noise of vehicles, bright lights, phone reception (well, I still had pretty good reception, though), the internet and all modern life pleasures. Even the bungalow had only very basic facilities - an electric kettle, a refrigerator, some cutlery, lights and a TV with awfully bad reception. By 7 pm, it was so quiet that all you could hear was the sound of some creature in the distance preparing for it's nocturnal prowl.  

The night was cold, there was not much to do (Mom regretted later for not bringing the Scrabble set, and I regretted not bringing Risk and get the family addicted to that instead. Oh, well) and naturally after all that driving and the two hours plus of hiking made us pretty tired, so we slept. Funny thing is, about 8 pm, we heard some loud footsteps in the house, but kind of brushed it off for the sounds of the wilderness. The next day, though we found out from the caretaker that the place apparently has *invisible forest dwelling folk sharing the space with us. They are supposedly harmless but still there, because it happens to be their home. Definitely a goosebump inducing tale on a chilly Saturday morning. 

And in typical fashion of all holidays, I had a 'first' experience again. This time, a leech decided to whet it's appetite on my delicious blood. It didn't hurt, but the very idea is just plain gross.

* if they exist, that is.

To be continued

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Getaway to the Wettest Town in Malaysia (Part 1)

It was somewhere in the early, dreary days of June where my sister and I suddenly decided that we'd hit the road again for an excitingly wild adventure after almost a year. This time around we took the trip with the parents, seeing that the wettest town in Malaysia, or Taiping as it's actually known was a place my mom once called home.  

The Journey

The weather was cool as we took the drive along the highway, a three hour journey along some very beautiful stretches of limestone hills, and an exhilarating drive through a tunnel and some creepy winding roads. After over three hours and a slight cramp on my right hip (for it was joined to my right leg which was destined to shift between the gas pedal and the brakes) we finally drove into Taiping town through the Changkat Jering exit. Needless to say, I was a wee bit disappointed at the fact that we were not welcomed with the slight showers Taiping is famous for. After all, as wikitravel candidly mentioned... "Locals do not wonder whether it will rain on a particular day, they wonder what time it will rain" I was naturally expecting some rain.


Taiping Town


For what you'd call a small town, I was impressed with the signboards in Taiping as we drove around, looking for our destination for the day - Maxwell Hill, or Bukit Larut as it now known. Maxwell Hill happens to be one of the very first hill resorts in the country, and probably the least commercial. There are a few old-fashioned bungalows available for rent nestled snugly along the hill where people headed to for rest and recreation since 1844. Since our ride up was scheduled for 3pm, we had some time for lunch and to check out Taiping itself.


The picture on the top left are the row of shops near the shop where we had our lunch - Chinese food at one of those not so small hawker like stalls, randomly picked from the GPS list and another one serving Indian food for mom who is vegetarian. The food was tasty and surprisingly much, much cheaper than the food we usually get in our state. The sister and I joked that we're not exactly sure if it was being in the town itself, or if the food actually tasted better there. Not being usual fans of a local dessert called cendol, we were surprised to find the bowl of cendol we reluctantly shared to be actually pretty good! (The parents are cendol fans, probably from the days of their childhood when everything was fresh and unadulterated, which is how we ended up in the cendol place in the first place) And the second picture is one of the parking meter. Got a bit excited seeing one like this... 

Taiping Lake Gardens

Because we like trees, it was near enough, and we still had time before our ride up to Maxwell Hill.

We didn't do much in the lake gardens, though because it was in the middle of the afternoon. However, we did see quite a few people spending the Friday afternoon there, walking along under the trees (there wasn't much else to do unless you counted the water activities, but no one seemed to be doing any water activities at that time) It was probably too hot anyway.



It was quite peaceful though, standing near the lake, watching the rain trees, and they were huge. The tree you see in the pictures stretch from across the street, forming a shaded arch along the whole road.

PS: I actually thought I could pull off the whole 3 day trip in one post... but I'm nodding off even as I sit here typing this PS, and I haven't even covered what we did for the rest of the day. Damn.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

From Avoiding Oil Rigs to Catenative Verbs

The good news is, I now know what catenative verbs are...

As for the bad news, my initial amusement towards a certain title in an online paper seems to have disappeared. (see picture below)
  
It happens all the time, you see something *interesting, and you make a mental note... " I shall blog about that". And you do. In my case, I click the Blogger button at the bottom of my sidebar, which then takes me to the dashboard, and I proceed to create a new post and happily type into it. For this post, I needed to print screen (lovely feature, I must add) the site I was on. 

You see, something about a hurricane avoiding oil rigs tickled my funny bone. Now, I've always used the word 'avoid' in the context where the act is done on purpose. You avoid someone, or you avoid going to a certain place because it gives you diarrhea. But you can't really picture a hurricane avoiding oil rigs. In my mind, it looks like a particular thunderstorm cloud, with rain pouring in sheets, moving along a crooked line avoiding all the oil rigs that are littered all over the place.



But something caught me midway... what if my usage of the word 'avoid' was inaccurate? What if you really could use it in this context? What if I was the one being silly thinking it was hilarious all by myself? So I decided to google the word avoid which then led me to... http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/avoid

So that is how I got to know what a catenative verb is, and although I have been using catenative verbs all my life (since I started talking/writing properly, anyway), this is the first time I've come across the word. What's really strange is that our dear friend, the Blogger spell check feature, refuses to identify the word catenative as a proper English word!

*Depending on who you are, and what you find interesting, of course.

PS: Yes, admittedly, this is a pointless post... (among many others), but I didn't want to leave the blog all lonesome without a July post while I was away. Yes, the weekend getaway is finally here!